(Saturday, August 30th)
Final Score: (8) West Virginia 48, Villanova 21
Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) - Pat White completed 25-of-33 passes for 208 yards and a career-high five touchdowns, and rushed for 63 yards to lead eighth-ranked West Virginia over Villanova, 48-21, in the season opener for both teams.
Alric Arnett hauled in four balls for 70 yards and two scores for the Mountaineers (1-0), who began the Bill Stewart era on a winning note. Stewart took over the team prior to last season's Fiesta Bowl after Rich Rodriguez decided to take the head coaching job at Michigan, and now has the position on a full-time basis.
Jock Sanders also scored two touchdowns and caught eight balls for 62 yards as West Virginia won its fifth straight season opener.
Antwon Young was 17-of-33 for 218 yards and two interceptions for the Wildcats (0-1), who shocked the Mountaineers with a 41-36 upset victory the last time that Villanova visited Morgantown back in 1977.
Villanova did outgain West Virginia in total yards, 399-354, despite being on the losing end.
The Mountaineers opened the scoring thanks to a Villanova turnover. Mortty Ivy scooped up a Young fumble and ran it 30 yards down to the Wildcat 24-yard line. It only took the West Virginia offense one play as White hit Arnett for the 24-yard touchdown with 2:04 remaining in the first.
Then on their first possession of the second quarter, the Mountaineers jumped out to a 14-0 edge. Will Johnson hauled in a three-yard touchdown pass from White to cap off a 10-play, 47-yard drive. White fueled the drive with a 13- yard run down to the Villanova 25-yard line on a critical 3rd-and-12.
The Wildcats finally reached the scoreboard with 6:47 left in the second quarter on a three-yard run by Young to cut the deficit to 14-7. The 12-play drive that took up 5:48 of the game clock was highlighted by a Brandyn Harvey 18-yard reception that converted a 3rd-and-8 down to the West Virginia 18.
However, the Mountaineers ended the half with 10 straight points to take a 24-7 advantage into the locker room. White connected with Arnett for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 4:35 left and then, as time expired in the second quarter, Pat McAfee booted through a 52-yard field goal.
It was more West Virginia in the third quarter. On their first possession of the frame, the Mountaineers took the ball 74 yards in 12 plays, and ended the drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass from White to Sanders.
Villanova had to punt on its first possession of the second half and to make matters worse, J.T. Thomas blocked the kick to give West Virginia the ball at the 'Nova 24. The Villanova defense played strong though, holding the Mountaineers to a 33-yard field goal by McAfee to make it a 34-7 contest with 5:26 left in the third.
It only took the Wildcats 15 seconds into the fourth quarter to score and cut the deficit to 34-14. Aaron Ball ran in from two yards out on the six-play drive, which bridged the third and fourth quarters.
The Mountaineers responded, though, by scoring a touchdown on the next possession to make it 41-14. Noel Devine rushed for 34 yards on the drive, which ended in a 17-yard touchdown reception by Sanders from White.
Ivy capped off the West Virginia scoring with a 29-yard interception return for West Virginia on the following Villanova drive.
Then with just two seconds left, the Wildcats posted a one-yard touchdown run up the middle by Christopher Whitney.
Since 1891, West Virginia is 83-29-4 in season openers...Marc Bulger holds the West Virginia record for touchdown passes in a game with six, set against Pittsburgh in 1998...WVU is 27-4 with White as the starting quarterback...Since 2000, WVU is 54-1 when scoring 30 or more points.
08/30 19:53:48 ET